5 Things to Know About Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on His 95th Birthday

The last time Benedict's birthday fell on Holy Saturday was 1960.

Pope Benedict XVI on Aug. 28, 2010.
Pope Benedict XVI on Aug. 28, 2010. (photo: L'Osservatore Romano / Vatican Media)

1. Benedict XVI was born on Holy Saturday.

Benedict XVI was born on Holy Saturday, April 16, 1927, in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria. According to CNA’s count, this year is his fourth Holy Saturday birthday; the last time his birthday fell on this day was in 1960. The Pope Emeritus has also had three birthdays occur on Good Friday: In 1954, 1965, and 1976, and he has had four Easter Sunday birthdays.

2. Benedict XVI is the longest-living person to have been pope.

On Sept. 4, 2020, Benedict XVI became the longest-living person to have been pope, when he surpassed Pope Leo XIII, who died at the age of 93 years and 140 days in 1903. Leo XIII still holds the title of oldest reigning pope, however, since Benedict XVI made history in another way when he resigned in 2013, becoming the first pope to do so in almost 600 years.

3. Benedict XVI wanted to be called ‘Father Benedict’ in retirement.

In an interview with a German journalist in 2014, the Pope Emeritus revealed that he had wanted to go by the title “Father Benedict” after stepping down from the papacy, but he “was too weak at that point to enforce it.”

4. The Pope Emeritus prefers orange soda to German beer.

Despite enjoying a German beer on his 90th birthday in 2017, those who know Benedict personally say he is a bigger fan of orange soda, commonly known by the Italian brand name Fanta.

5. Benedict XVI prays the rosary daily.

After retiring as pope, Benedict XVI would pray a daily Rosary while walking in the gardens surrounding his home, the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery. As walking became more difficult for him, he would receive a lift from a golf cart, and pray the Rosary while resting on a bench in the Vatican Gardens. Benedict has also greeted people from the same orange-cushioned bench, which is located near a grotto replicating the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.

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